Monday, July 25, 2011

As missionaries of the Lord with faithfulness and prayer...

Olá mues queridos -

We had a Zone Conference that wasnt really a Zone Conference this past Tuesday, and it would have been perfect if I hadnt been so tired and wanted to sleep during half of it.  But it really was so good.  A lot of the Elders who were transfered from our Zone were there, so we got to see them again.  We also received training from President Vecchi, and let me just reiterate: I love that man.  It was back to basics, things were already know, things we learned in the MTC, fundimental things that have just been lacking a little bit in the mission, and I was able to remember and think about how to apply these things in our area here.

Also, I got to spend two days in Iléus with Sister Forester, and it was wonderful!  I loved getting the chance to work with her again and re-remember some of the things I learned in the MTC.  Things I should be doing.  And it was so much fun.  Sister Forester and I only had about 2 weeks together in the MTC, but we clicked from the very start, and it was great working with her and it was great to know that we still click =]  Learning to work with a different person, being exposed to a different teaching style was great, and not only that, but I love Iléus.  I dont really want to leave Itabuna, but if that is in the cards in the near future, I vote I go to Iléus.  Although I know my vote doesnt really do anything when it comes to the will of the Lord.  But I do love the area and I love the people.  Its kind of amazing how fast that love can grow when I am doing what I am supposed to be doing.

And then, when I came back to Itabuna, Sister Freitas had told a lot of people that I had been transfered to Iléus as a joke, and then told them afterwards that I was just there for 2 days.  But a lot of the members didnt hear the second part, that I would be coming back on Friday.  Ergo, on Sunday, there were a lot of members of the ward who were excited/confused that I was here.  Including the bishop.

This coming week we have baptisms, and we are doing everything in our power to make sure these do not fall through.  We are meeting with these people every day, and they seem really excited about coming to church each week and about their baptism, too.  The two that I feel sure about are a mother and son, Regina and Efraim.  Efraim is 13, but he looks more like he is 8, so I have to remind myself at times not to talk to him like he is a kid.  But they are both so great.  They have been reading the Book of Mormon every day and praying and things are looking really really good.

This past week we also had a lot more investigators in sacrament meeting, and I know the Lords hand was in that.  We are working with the other ones.  So many of them I feel so good about, and we were able to meet with a lot of them yesterday and they all said that they will come next week, which is GREAT!  Now we have just got to find more people this excited about coming to church, because I know they are here. But anyway, we were able to get 8 investigators in sacrament meeting and 6 of them have baptismal dates!

Funny story for you.  We went by one house to talk to one of our investigators and we asked if Bruno was home.  So out comes a young man who doesnt really look like our investigator, and Sister Freitas asks, ´Um, Bruno?´ and he says he is, so we start talking to him, and he doesnt know what we are talking about, and after about a minute Sister Freitas just asks if another Bruno lives in the house.  And indeed, another Bruno lives in the house.  So right now, we are teaching the brothers Bruno =]  I dont really understand why people give their kids the same name, or even names that seem the same.  We have investigators who are sisters and their names are Caliane and Kaylane.  Talk about confusing.

We also spent the morning this morning waiting in line for about 4 hours in a governmentish building, trying to help some of our investigators get married so they can be baptised.  It was a little annoying, because my vocabulary does not extend to legal, marriage vocabulary, so I was really lost most of the time.  And then, after waiting for 4 hours, we found out that they couldnt get done what they needed to get done (dont ask me why, I have no idea).  But we were able to get lunch out of it, so that is always nice.

Our goal for the Zone this week is for every dupla to have a baptism, and we will perform all the baptisms the same time in the Stake building in California.  It should be really exciting, especially considering that the ZLs here are teaching a family of 10 people who have a date for this day.  We should have more than 20 baptisms this day.  Remember us, and give us your prayers.

Love you!  Miss you!  Read your scriptures!  Say your prayers!

Até mais -

Sister Petersen

Monday, July 18, 2011 batizar os seus eleitos e ousado serei! (... to baptize their elected and I will be bold!)

Estou feliz!! 
We had not one, but two baptisms and confirmations this past week, and I highly doubt that there is a happier missionary in all of Brazil right now.  The morning of the baptism we had so many problems, so much went on and there was so much confusion about when and how and where Hiago would be baptized.  He is 9, and his mom and his moms family are members, so we had to coordinate with them and it was such a mess.  We also had to go to another church in a different bairro for his baptism, and Sister Freitas and I had never been there, so we were a little nervous about that.  Then we showed up and he wasnt there.  But he showed up, thankfully =] 
Our other baptism has been called a miracle, and that is a very humbling thing to hear.  Edla has been going to church for the past 2 years without fail and almost all of her children are members, but she went through many pairs of missionaries and still refused to be baptised.  She gives lunch to the missionaries every week, and they always share a spiritual thought afterwards, and my first Wednesday here I gave the thought and I invited her to be baptised - this was my very first baptismal invite on the mission.  She didnt accept or not accept, kind of more of a, We will see, sort of an answer, and we have worked with her ever since.  But about two weeks about she set a date for herself because her daughter was going to be here.  My goodness, when we started to tell people in the ward that Irma Edla was going to be baptised.... I wish you could see my face right now =D  Everyone was incredulous, and more than one person said what a miracle it was.  And I believe it.  It is an answer to so many prayers, and I will never forget it.  I have no words to describe how I felt at that baptism.
The next day - Sunday - was kind of a mess, too.  We were trying to get our investigators to church, and by the time church started we only had one.  So Sister Freitas and I set out to find more people.  We invited everyone we saw.  An hour later, we returned to church with 1 more investigator to find out that Hiago wasnt at church, and the member we had asked to pick him up said that no one was home.  This was really bad, because he needed to be confirmed in Sacrament Meeting (which we have last here).  So Sister Freitas and I set out again to the opposit side of the bairro.  We showed up at his house and his aunt, sister and brother were there, but not Hiago.  So we sent his brother off to find him and we offered one of the most ferverent prayers I have ever given.  10 minutes or so later he came walking down the road with his brother.  I have never been so releaved in my life.  Turns out he had woken up at 6 that morning to get ready and waiting and waiting until 10am when he finally decided no one was coming and so he went to play.  We got to Sacrament right as they were finishing the confirmation of Irma Edla, just in time to have Hiago confirmed.  I am a very, very, very, very blessed missionary, and I am trying so hard to show my gratitude to my Father in Heaven by working even harder.
This next week should be interesting - we have a conference of sorts in Iléus tomorrow, and then I will stay there until Friday moring on an exchange with Sister Forester!  I am excited to be able to work with her again, although I still want to be here to help Sister Freitas accomplish the goals we have set.  This week, the goal the ZLs gave for us is to have a Zona de Exelência.  Presidente Vecchi set a few goals for the mission, and when a companionship meets those goals they have followed the Pattern of Excellence.  So the goal for the zone is to have every companionship meet these goals of the President.  We are praying and working really hard to make this happen.  Again, one of the hardest things is getting people to church, but we will make it happen with the companionship of 3 - Sister Freitas, me, and the Lord =]

I hope all is well with vocês!  I miss you and love hearing from you!

Até mais -

Sister Petersen

Pictures sent this week.

Itabuna at night
Our apartment

Our desks and our tiny area map

Sister Freitas and eu

Elders Adrezzo and Fernandes, my first ZLs

Elders Fernandes & de Campos, my new ZLs

Baptism of Hiago

Edla's baptism, she was baptized by Irmao Castro

Monday, July 11, 2011

...convênio santo e leal fazemos com o Rei.... (... holy covenant and loyal to the King do ...)


My dear mother, if you could place the quote about church in with this email, that would be wonderful, because one of our biggest problems here is getting people to come to church, and this week it was really difficult for me.  We worked so hard, and I think it was our best week in terms of lessons given and people found, but the entire week builds up to sacrament meeting, and when no one comes to sacrament meeting, the work of the past week is almost not important.  This is the second week in a row where we have only had 1 investigator in Sacrament meeting.  Having one is great, but not when we have 15 investigators.  That, coupled with the fact that I am still sick after 3 weeks, led to a little bit of a break down.  Thankfully, I have been really blessed with a wonderful companion, friends in the ward and really great Zone Leaders, all of whom gave me really great advice and encouragement.  I truly am a very blessed missionary.

That being said, our Zone has a goal of 44 baptisms this month, and the Zone Leaders have given us different goals for each week of the month starting this week.  So, our goal this week is to have the best numbers in the mission, or ´GH da Justiça´  I am not sure how to explain this in english exactly, but GH means ´glória do homen´, I think, which is bascially ´the worlds greatest´ and I know all about that =]  Elder Fernandes is still here, but we have a new ZL, too, Elder de Campos, and the first thing out of his mouth is always ´Oi! Esta feliz?!´  It has helped a lot this week.  Us sisters have also seen a lot of the ZLs this week because of our various probelms with our apartment and our landlord (who is a lovely little old lady who is just a little crazy, I think).  They have been over almost every day this week talking to her and trying to figure out our water issues.
(They also have a request for reices pieces, gummy worms, swedish fish, 2 pairs of basketball shorts (which they dont have in Brazil) and 2 Journals (like the first Journal Emma got, blue, hard covered).  They would like to know how much these things are so that when you send them they can pay you back =]  Thats my ZLs =] )

I continue to have problems with being beautiful. Had a man tell me that I look like the queen of Europe.  I think he meant England, and I think he meant it as a compliment, but considering how old Queen Elizabeth is, I am not so sure it was.

We also taught a family this past week, and when we explained about the Book of Mormon the wife got really excited and asked if she could buy it.  She was really sad when we said no, but we made her happy by giving it to her for free.

As Im sure youve noticed, you have pictures thanks to Sister Freitas.  I dont know which is which, but the one with the most people is my zone, the other is my district (me, Fernandes, Terxaira?, Vitelli, Freitas and Andrezzo in front), and the other is Sister Freitas and I.

Love you!
Até mais -

Sister Petersen

Here is the quote about the Sabbath Erin wanted me to include: 
Elder Mark E Petersen said,  "We can readily see that observance of the Sabbath is an indication of the depth of our conversion. 
"Our observance or nonobservance of the Sabbath is an unerring measure of our attitude toward the Lord personally and toward his suffering in Gethsemane, his death on the cross, and his resurrection from the dead.  It is a sign of whether we are Christians in very deed, or whether our conversion is so shallow that commemoration of his atoning sacrifice means little or nothing to us"

                                                                                        Sister Petersen & Sister Freitas

                                                                                             Erin's District

                                                                                          Erin's Zone

Monday, July 4, 2011

...nos damos nossa forca a Deus, poder e coração...(we give to God our strength, power and heart)

Óla meus queridos!

This past week... A lot of things fell through, and we spent a lot of time trying to figure out what to do with our time, which was a little annoying.  But we should be having a baptism this week, so I am really excited!  Talita (I dont know if I have talked about her before) is 11, and is sooo wonderful.  We have been working with her for about a month, and really the only reason she hasnt already been baptised is because she kept having to go places on Sundays and so wasnt able to come to church.  I dont really forsee any problems with her baptism, but keep her in your prayers! 
The one thing that I learned most of all this week is that Satan is a very crafty and very evil person (not that hes really a person).  I got very angry with him the other day (and so I am clear, the him is Satan).  Lord Sauron has nothing on Satan.  We had a lesson with some of our investigators, and one of them said that he didnt want to live with his family after this life because he wanted to devote his time to the glory of God.  The way Satan twists and contorts things is completely and utterly evil. 
The other thing I learned is that to understand the meaning of the word truth is a blessing.  To know that a truth is something that doesnt change, cannot change, and no matter what other people believe or think, it doesnt change what the truth is.  And its amazing to know the truth as well.  Thats one of the biggest problems we run into here.  People appreciate what we are doing, think its wonderful that we are preaching the word of God, but they already have their truth.  And to explain truth... with one of our investigators, the other day I had to flat out say (with much love and care) that if he believed the Book of Mormon was true and that Joseph Smith was a prophet (which he said he did) this meant that the church that he was a part of was not true.  And he finally understood the importance of praying and asking God for the truth.  Which he did.  And he received an answer.  But now he is afraid of all the changes he will have to make in his life.  And so we pray.  Really, really hard for him.
Other than that... to be honest, we dont do a whole lot on p-days.  We have had some zone activities (playing futbol, a churrasso) but other than that, I really feel like we dont have much time to do anything.  This might be because it takes us forever to get things done.  Who knows.  Today it had something to do with the fact that we dont have water in our apartment except in one of the bathrooms - this means we couldnt do dishes or laundry. Opa =]
I love hearing from all of you and learning what you have been up to!
really quick some things....
Dad should check out the team Flamengos and tell me if theyre any good (they are popular here).
I do not have a cord for my camera, it got lost a long time ago (I actually think yours got lost and you inheirited mine).

Love you!!!
Até mais -

Sister Petersen